Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jane Mecom, 1 December 1767

From Jane Mecom

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Boston Decr 1. 1767

My Dear and only Brother

I wrot to you Some time ago and Informed you of the Death of my Child and of the Helth of the Rest of my Famely.4 I have now a Twofold Benifit to Acknolidg and thank you for The Recipt of what you mention in yr [your] Last to me by Mr. Barrett.5 Mr. Winthrop6 come and Paid me five Giuenys and yr [your] Advancing so much for me when Capt. Freeman7 come I am not unsencable of the obligation you contineualy Lay me under but Realy my Spirits are so much Broken with this Last Hevey Stroak of Provedenc that I am not capeble of Expressing my self as I ought.

Oh My Brother she was Every thing to me, Every word and Every Action, was full of Duty and Respect, and I never Lookd. on Her but with Pleasur Exept when she was sick or in troble. How to make me Easey and Happy was what she had most at Heart, and Rather than Give me Pain she concealed her own Infermities and Did so much more than she was Able that it Increased Her Disorder and Hastened Her End.

But why Should I Entertain you with this maloncholy Subject when you are calld. to Rejoyce at the Settling in marage of yr Beloved Daughter to a worthy Gentleman whom she Loves and the only won that can make her Happy.8 I congratulate you on it and wish it may Give you a Lasting Pleasure. I am uterly at a Lose how to Expres the Sence I have of Mrs. Steevensons Goodnes in takeing such Pains to serve me and must beg of you to do it for me and Pray the contineuance of Her favour for yr sake for I am not capeble of makeing any sutable Returns.9

I send all the mony I can git but it Proves a Litle unlucky for me that our People have taken it in there Heads to be so Exsesive Frugal at this Time as you will see by the News papers.1

Our Blusterers must keep them selves Imployed and If they Do no wors than Perswade us to were [wear] our old Cloaths over again I cant Disaprove of that in my Hart tho I should Like to have those that do bye and can afford it should bye what Litle I have to sell and Imploy us to make it up.

I think I Desiered you to send me all the Pamphlets and Papers that have been Printed of yr writing do Gratifie me2 and I will contineu to be as Ever yr affectionat and most obliged sister

Jane Mecom

My Daughter3 Desiers her Duty.

Addressed: To / Docr: Benjn. Franklin / at Mrs: Stevensons in Craven / Street London

Endorsed: Mrs Mecom Dec. 1. 1767

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4For Jane’s letter to BF of Oct. 23, 1767, relating the death of her daughter, Mary (Polly) Mecom (C.17.11), see above, p. 294.

5This letter has not been found and Mr. Barrett has not been identified; on Oct. 19, 1767, Jonathan Williams, Sr., acknowledged receiving a letter at the hands of a “Mr. S. Barrett.”

6Possibly Professor John Winthrop of Harvard, but why he was paying Jane five guineas is not clear.

7Freeman was a ship captain who is often mentioned in Jane’s letters. He may have been bringing her some gifts sent over by BF.

8BF’s daughter Sally and Richard Bache had been married on Oct. 29, 1767.

9Jane had apparently received a shipment of millinery which Mrs. Stevenson had purchased for her in August; see above, XII, 324–6. On May 9, 1767, she had written Mrs. Stevenson a thank-you note for materials sent in February; Van Doren, Franklin-Mecom, pp. 97–8.

1On Oct. 28, 1767, the Boston town meeting resolved to encourage local manufactures and to discourage the consumption of foreign superfluities; see above, p. 306 n.

2See below, p. 345.

3Jane (Jenny) Mecom (C.17.9), Jane’s sole surviving daughter.

Index Entries